If you’re a sewing enthusiast, you know how exciting it can be to take on new projects and create unique and personalized items.
But when it comes to sewing leather, many home sewists may feel intimidated and need help tackling this material on their standard sewing machine.
The good news is with the right tools and techniques, you can sew leather on a home sewing machine and create beautiful and durable projects.
In this blog post, we’ll share everything you need to know about sewing leather, from selecting the right needle and thread to adjusting your machine settings and mastering your sewing technique.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner looking to expand your skills, this guide will help you confidently sew leather on your home sewing machine.
So, grab your leather, and let’s get started!
You don’t necessarily need to purchase a new sewing machine to start sewing leather. You can even use a regular sewing machine to sew leather projects. Here’s how to sew leather on a home sewing machine.
Table of Contents
What thread do you use for leather?
Two main threads are used when sewing with leather: cotton thread and polyester. Cotton is a natural fiber found in plants. It has a soft feel and tends to be more expensive than polyester.
Polyester is synthetic and comes in many different weights. The weight refers to the thickness of the thread. You can find it in both heavy-duty and lightweight varieties.
Both cotton and polyester threads work well with leather. However, if you want to make a long piece of leather, you may opt for a heavier-weight polyester thread. This will give you a stronger seam.
What kind of needle is used to sew leather?
Most sewing machines use a regular needle for stitching leather. The type of needle you choose will depend on what kind of stitches you plan to make. You can find needles with different tips, including straight stitch, curved, beveled, and ball-tip.
Straight needles are best for basic stitching because they allow you to control where the needle goes quickly. Curved needles are great for creating decorative patterns.
Beveled needles help you cut corners when making leather bags or thicker leather. Finally, ball-point needles are perfect for embroidery work.
How do I set up my sewing machine for leather?
Before you begin sewing leather, you must understand how to set up your sewing machine properly. This will ensure that you can achieve the most accurate results possible.
First, remove any existing attachments from your machine. Then turn off the power switch. Next, adjust the tension so the needle doesn’t move too quickly or slowly.
Next, ensure the bobbin isn’t spinning too fast or slow. Finally, check the alignment of the needle by placing a piece of paper underneath the needle. It should sit flat against the bedplate without being crooked.
How to Sew Leather on a Home Sewing Machine
Use A Walking Foot
You’ll need to use a walking foot when you’re sewing leather. A walking foot allows you to move the needle forward and backward along the length of the material.
This feature makes it easy to keep the needle aligned with the edge of the material.
To attach a walking foot, loosen the screw near the top of the machine. Then slide the foot onto the shaft until it clicks into place. Once the foot is attached, tighten the screw again.
Using a Needle Plate
A needle plate is another essential tool when sewing leather. This accessory attaches to the throat plate on your sewing machine. It helps prevent the needle from slipping through the fabric as you stitch.
You can still use one if your domestic sewing machine does not have a needle plate. Insert a standard sewing needle through the center hole on the backside of the needle plate.
Attach the needle plate to the throat plate and attach the other end to the needle bar.
Sewing Leather With A Presser Foot
Presser’s feet come in handy when sewing leather. They allow you to press firmly on the material while keeping the needle stationary.
This prevents the needle from moving around and causing unwanted fraying.
To attach a presser foot:
Loosen the screw located at the bottom of the machine.
Slide the foot onto the shaft and then tighten the screw again.
When attaching the presser foot, ensure the needle is facing away from the material.
Sewing Leather With An Overlocker
An overlocker is an optional attachment that you can use to finish your project. This accessory creates a tight seal between layers of material.
It also allows adding extra stitching lines to create a decorative pattern.
Tips For Making Perfect Leather Stitches
Keep Your Fabric Tension Even
You could have uneven stitches if you’re not careful when sewing leather. To avoid this problem, ensure the fabric stays tight throughout the process.
Check Your Thread Color Before Starting
When sewing leather, matching the thread color to the leather is essential. Matching colors ensure that your stitches blend seamlessly with the rest of the leather.
Start And Stop At The Right Spot
When sewing, paying attention to details like starting and stopping at the right spot is essential. For example, if you start sewing before the beginning of the material, you may accidentally sew through the wrong part of the material. Similarly, if you stop sewing after the end of the material, you won’t be able to finish the project.
When sewing a leather bag, leaving enough room for expansion is essential. If you overstitch, however, you risk tearing the material.
Leave Room For Expansion
Leather expands as it dries. So when you’re sewing leather, leave space for expansion.
Always Remove Excess Material
It’s also essential to remove excess material from around the edges of the material. Leaving extra material will cause the leather to fray.
Be Careful Not To Cut Yourself
When you’re sewing with leather, you need not cut yourself. If you do, you might bleed and ruin the finished product.
Adjust The Length Of Your Sewing Line
When sewing on leather, it’s essential to keep the leather needle parallel to the edge of the material. This prevents the stitching from appearing too short or long.
Make Sure You Have Enough Space On Both Sides Of The Fabric
When sewing on leather with a walking foot, ensure the needle has enough space on both sides of the fabric. Otherwise, you may end up cutting off the material.
Pay Attention To Your Machine Settings
Make sure that you set the correct speed for your sewing machine. Too fast and you’ll tear the material; too slow and you won’t get anywhere.
Take It Slow
Take your time when sewing leather. If you rush through the process, you could damage the material.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect when it comes to sewing leather. By practicing, you’ll learn what works best for you and what doesn’t.
Sewing leather is a fun hobby that allows you to create unique clothing and accessories. With just a few simple tips, you can easily sew leather. And hopefully, after following these tips and ways, you will master the art of sewing leather.